Sunday, March 1, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Nibali not taking Tour de France lead for granted

By
From page B8 | July 11, 2014 |

REIMS, France — Vincenzo Nibali is growing comfortable in his yellow jersey.

He’s not taking the Tour de France lead for granted, though.

Despite the stunning departure of reigning champion Chris Froome in a crash the day before, the Italian says he’s “afraid” of two-time champ Alberto Contador, and senses other contenders are looking for opportunities to strip him of cycling’s most coveted jersey.

Nibali took another, if small, step on Thursday toward the Tour crown by maintaining his lead as the pack arrived in Reims — whose famed Cathedral hosted many French coronations — in a drizzly and crash-marred sixth stage won by German sprint specialist Andre Greipel.

Nibali, who has won cycling’s two other Grand tours — the Spanish Vuelta and Italian Giro — made it five straight days in the yellow shirt that he hopes to take home when the race ends on the’ Champs-Elysees on July 27.

It’s still very early, though, and the race has only had one real climbing day so far: Far tougher up-and-down days are ahead this weekend in the Vosges mountains, in the Alps in week two, and the Pyrenees in week three.

But Nibali says he is “calm” and feeling good physically, his Astana team is the best-performing squad so far, and several rival teams have been losing riders to crashes.

“I’m still afraid of Contador,” said Nibali, adding that he expects the Spaniard and other yellow jersey aspirants to attack when the race enters the eastern Vosges range on Saturday — culminating with a tough uphill finish in Monday’s Stage 10.

“It’s true that you can lose a lot of energy defending the yellow jersey, but I’ve been riding well,” Nibali said through a translator. “It’s a heavy task to wear it … (but) to have the jersey could be a little advantage in the coming stages. We’ll take it day by day.”

Contador, a day after losing about 2 1/2 minutes to Nibali on a muddy ride over cobblestones, was dealt another setback on Thursday: His Saxo-Tinkoff teammate Jesus Hernandez, who was expected to help him up the climbs, dropped out after a crash that left him dazed on the roadside.

Richie Porte, who inherited the leadership of Team Sky after Froome quit, also lost a teammate. Spanish veteran Xabier Zandio was taken to hospital with a suspected broken rib and severe back injury from a group spill with about 79 kilometers left.

The race medical report listed a total of 14 riders with varying injuries from “two big crashes.”

“It was such a stressful day — horrible actually,” Porte said, crediting support from his team. “The guys were around me all day, and while we lost Xabi Zandio to the crash, the rest of us kept out of trouble and we live to fight another day.”

Greipel, the Germany champion, collected his sixth career Tour stage win ahead of Norway’s Alexander Kristoff in second and France’s Samuel Dumoulin in third over the 194-kilometer (120-mile) ride. Greipel’s job got easier after countryman Marcel Kittel, who has dominated the sprints this year, got a late flat.

“I had really good punch (Thursday), I am really happy,” said Greipel, a Lotto Belisol rider who turns 32 next Wednesday. “Of course I’m not looking at Kittel. I don’t need to hide. I am still one of the fastest in the bunch.

“There was a lot of pressure on us, on my shoulders. It’s a big relief for us.”

The top of the standings didn’t change, as most of the contenders for victory in the three-week race trailed close behind the muscular Greipel. He was not a challenger for the overall title; like many sprinters, he does not fare well on the climbs that are crucial to winning in Paris. He’s 37 1/2 minutes behind Nibali.

Overall, Nibali has a two-second lead over Danish teammate Jakob Fuglsang. Peter Sagan of Slovakia was third, 44 seconds back. Porte, an Australian, was another 70 seconds back in eighth place. American Andrew Talansky, who won the Criterium du Dauphine in June, was ninth, 2:05 behind Nibali. Spaniard Alejandro Valverde was 10th, 2:11 back, and Contador was in 18th, 2:37 behind.

With the Tour giving a nod to 100 years since the start of World War I, French President Francois Hollande honored the fallen and took a ride with race director Christian Prudhomme on Thursday. The Tour chief led a ceremony honoring 1909 winner Francois Faber, one of three winners of early Tours who died in the war.

Stage 7 on Friday will be the Tour’s second longest, another mostly flat 234.5-kilometer (146-mile) trek from Epernay to Nancy.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Sheriff: Mother ‘sole person responsible’ for infant’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rifle Team has a blast with competitive shooting

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Child abduction case in jury’s hands

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Pipeline project will soften water in 2016

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Pig out at Farmers Market’s Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
    Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Christie to Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Colon prep can be hard to swallow

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Scouts help fill STEAC’s pantry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Parole denied in 1987 killing spree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Explore Asia at Arboretum storytime

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    MU Games closing in late March

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Still no parole in toddler case

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    City offers wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    UCD student with meningococcal disease is recovering

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Young patients bond with special stuffies

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Diversity theater group continues creativity workshops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Radio talk show moves to Mondays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Assault awareness campaign kicks off

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    UCD student panel to cover anti-Semitism, Islamophobia

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Yolo Food Bank hosts thank-you breakfast on Pig Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    Mars or ISIS? Similar outcome

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    City may get charged up over energy choices

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Milt Priggee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Rowing: PE as well as life skills

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Police complaint procedures drafted

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Clarifying energy update letter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Weekly claw pickup necessary

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Design innovation centers for the 21st century

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Speak out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B5

     
    A new perspective on life

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

    Distant water crisis has lessons for Davis

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Call for study to settle if anesthesia poses risk to babies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    .

    Sports

    Devils get a soccer win despite finishing woes

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Winning close games is the key for DHS softballers

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men get a bounce-back win at Cal Poly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    The mystery continues: lowly Gauchos upset UCD women

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Razo throws well as Aggies get a baseball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Defending champion Blue Devils have diamond holes to fill

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Republic FC falls to storied New York Cosmos

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Yolo Federal Credit Union honored for supporting business education

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Online store will celebrate, mock People’s Republic of Davis

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, March 1, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8